This has been my family’s go-to recipe for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure exactly who came up with the combination of herbs, garlic, and lemon, but I have a hunch we each had a little something to do with this full flavored roast chicken.
Learning how to roast a chicken is an invaluable skill because it’s one of those recipes that will never fail you, and it can be paired with so many interesting side dishes. One of my favorite things about a roast chicken, is what comes after dinner – first I simmer the leftovers into chicken stock, and from there I make a Homemade Chicken Soup that I never get tired of.
This recipe starts with a homemade herb butter where you mash chopped fresh sage, (thyme and rosemary are great too) into salted butter with freshly ground black pepper and minced garlic.
Tip: When I don’t have any fresh herbs in the house, I use 1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence that I crush between my fingers before putting it into the butter along with 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning.
Now I’m not one for pictures of raw meat, (especially chicken) but I really wanted to include this so that you can see what the bird looks like right before it goes in the oven with the herb butter rubbed inside and outside of the skin. Getting some of the herbed butter under the skin on the chicken breasts is really key to a super flavorful and juicy roast chicken.
The other thing I like to do when roasting a chicken is to squeeze a half of a lemon over the top after I’ve rubbed the butter in, then I just place the lemon rind inside of the chicken while it roasts.
And since you can never go wrong with a little sauce to go along with your roast chicken, I add a small amount of water (or chicken stock if I have it) to the bottom of the pan. Depending on the bird sometimes you end up with more or less juices, so I find it’s best to start with a liquid in the bottom just to be sure there’s enough to make a quick gravy if you’d like!
Inspiration for a make-ahead holiday/winter feast:
Antipasto Platter – an appetizer is always optional, but an antipasto platter is really nice because it can be assembled ahead, and it makes for great snacking while you wait for the chicken to finish roasting.
Easy Herb Roasted Chicken – you can prep this recipe to the point where the chicken is ready to go into the oven, then just refrigerate it for an hour or two until you’re ready to roast it.
Simple Mashed Sweet Potatoes – these are the best mashed sweet potatoes I’ve ever made, and best of all they can be made ahead and reheated over low heat.
Spinach Salad with Pomegranate, Feta Cheese and Creamy Chia Vinaigrette – this is my favorite winter salad, it’s full of flavor and looks really festive. The salad and dressing can be made ahead and refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it, (although I do like to cut up the avocado for the salad last minute so that it doesn’t brown).
- 1 whole chicken, thawed, 4.5 pounds
- ½ of a lemon
- ¼ cup water or chicken stock
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 Teaspoon ground Celtic grey sea salt, or to taste
- ¼ Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 sage leaves, minced, 1 Tablespoon, 4 grams (thyme or rosemary are good too)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry before placing it breast side up in a 9" pie plate, you can use anything you'd like to roast the chicken, I've just found a pie plate to be my favorite.
- Make the garlic herb butter by mashing all the ingredients together. Rub the herbed butter all over the top of the chicken. Carefully loosen the skin covering the breast meat and rub some of the herb butter directly on the surface of the meat.
- After you've rubbed the herb butter on, squeeze the half of lemon over the top of the chicken, being careful not to get any seeds in the dish. Add the ¼ cup of water to the bottom of the pie plate and carefully place the plate in the oven to roast.
- Roast the chicken for 1 hour 10-15 minutes or until the juices in the thighs are no longer pink and the internal temperature at the thickest part reads 165ºF on a thermometer. The roasting time will vary each time you roast a chicken depending on the size of your bird.
- If you want to make an optional gravy out of the pan juices, simply dissolve 1-2 Tablespoons tapioca starch with 2-4 Tablespoons of water until there are no more lumps left. Place the roasted chicken on a serving platter to carve, and pour the juices into a medium saucepan. Bring the juices to a boil and slowly whisk in just enough of the tapioca mixture to thicken it to the texture you like your gravy. You may need to season it to taste with additional sea salt and pepper.
- If you don't want to make gravy be sure to save any additional pan juices for homemade soup!
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